JACKSONVILLE – Now more than ever, we rely on technology to get us through our day-to-day life in education or at work. The Jaguars know the importance of having proper equipment to get your job done as they still use virtual meetings through Microsoft Teams. This is one of the many reasons the Jaguars wanted to help provide the necessary technology for students at Andrew Jackson High School.

In partnership with Florida Tech, the Jaguars helped celebrate the grand opening of a brand-new STEM Lab, so students have what they need to focus on the number one goal: applying to college. Florida Tech fully funded 24 new laptops, furniture and branding so students have an enhanced virtual reality-based learning.

Jaguars offensive lineman Ben Bartch knows what it takes to get into college and the importance of academics in a child’s journey. He visited with the students virtually and touched on why he is a great example of what can happen with some hard work.

“Bottom line is you just have to work your butt off,” Bartch said. “It’s on you and yourself, it’s you and the man in the mirror. If it’s a goal that is worth pursuing, people will doubt you. That’s how you know it’s a good goal.”

Every student’s home situation is different. AJHS wants the new STEM Lab to be a safe space where all students can count on being able to get their work done. Dr. Truitte Moreland, Principal of AJHS, works for every student to at least have the option to apply to college.

“I don’t believe in no,” Moreland said. “There are no excuses. If a kid does not have the money and they can’t do the basics, then it’s our job to do that for them. This partnership with Florida Tech and the Jaguars helps us do that.”

Who knows how long we will place such an emphasis on virtual learning? One thing we do know: AJHS is ready for whatever challenges are to come.